Some Platoons for France 1940 and a kind of a review by the Little One of Airfix Battles

I have finally finished my France 1940 15mm Platoons I have been working on.  I intend to use these with the excellent Too Fat Lardies France 1940 supplement I bought some time ago (link here).  I have talked about the book before and it is a fantastic resource for any Platoon based WW2 Gaming.  Here they are, I used Skytrex (link here) and Peter Pig (link here) miniatures.

I bought the Little One a copy of the Airfix Battle game for us to try out over Christmas and we took it with us to the holidays in Sweden. He rather likes it and I thought why not ask him to write a short review/reflection of the game I have added it at the end of this blog post.

British 1940 Regulation Platoon (Skytrex and Peter Pig)

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Platoon Structure with support (note that I made prone Bren Gunner Teams as well as walking, with the same for Boyes Anti-tank team and the 2″ inch mortar team).
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I think these relatively old Skytrex Models are just fine.
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I did base them eventually – part of Machine Gun Team and a 2pdr AT Gun (these are Peter Pig)
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Peter Pig Anti-Tank Rifle Teams
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2″ mortar teams
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A British Squad (All Skytrex apart from the Bren Gunner from Peter Pig) on the left and the Platoon Sgt and the Lt on the right (both from Peter Pig)

German First Wave Platoon (Peter Pig)

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Some regulars and a Sniper
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Infantry Gun
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Platoon Structure with Supports
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Based up Squad on the Left and Platoon HQ on the left

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Mortar and Anti-tank Rifle Teams
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Nice weekend of basing

 

Airfix Battles – A review by the Little One

I find Airfix Battles a good game because everything you need sits in a small box – flat miniature soldiers, tanks and guns. The rules are simple to understand for a 10-year old wargamer. However I have played a lot of games before so maybe they are a little bit more difficult for you.  There a paper sheets that are used to play on and some terrain features you place on the mat. These are ruins, hedges and difficult ground.  It takes on some things that I like with WW2, such as Tigers, Bazookas and Pak-40 guns.  However, it is a little bit unrealistic as you can shoot in a curved trajectory (kind of) and mortars and artillery do not seem very powerful – I read in a book that artillery was the biggest cause of death in WW2. Also the ranges are a little bit strange, the MG-34, Browning and Sniper Rifle has the same range.  My Papa, that is what I call my dad, tells me there should be figures with the game, but we have plenty at home and the flats works well for travel.  It also shows how dangerous war is – so you have to manage your units carefully and protect your commanders as they are important to allow you do things like getting cards and playing orders.  You can also use the set to play other games on while you travel, we played What a Tanker using the Panzers vs the Shermans – that was fun!

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The Game comes with two thin sheets of paper you can use instead of a battle mat, they look ok.
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Here are some of the unit cards, showing a lot of useful information like the number of stars (this is how much the unit is worth), how may are in the unit, what the units skill is (the dice), how much it moves, what weapons it carries (with range and damage) and any special abilities.
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I like this game.  Our games have taken between 20 minutes to 2 hours.
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I think the rough terrain markers are funny – maybe they could have used something less boring like some stony ground of something.  My Papa hates markers like this – I am less bothered and just get on with things.  That is clearly one of his rolls by the way.

The other day we used miniatures to play the game, it made my Papa a little bit happier and we had a very good time.  He does not like this game as much as I do.  I really like it.  There is also a way you can play against yourself in Solo mode – I like it and it is harder than playing against Papa because I roll very well for both sides.

I really like games and I think I have learned a few things from this one that I will try to use in my own rule set I have been working on.

As Papa would have said, I hope that was of some interest.

– The Little One (you can read more about the game here)

Below are some more of the pictures we have taken of our games.

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A Christmas Carolean Battle Tale

To Katie, Henry, Mike and Neil (I will explain later),

I have a twitter account Per at RollaOne (@roll_a_one) were I ran a vote on whether to do a Christmas game with Swedes fighting Danes or Saxons. Here are the results. Being Swedish I did not want to us to do a game without the Swedes on the table.  It would have been a strange Great Northern War battle without them anyway.

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So here a presentation of the forces and a short AAR with some picture of the Battle…

The Rules, Opposing Commanders and their Forces

We decided to use the Maurice Rules for the game and made two 100-pointish armies each. 1 unit is represented by 2 No. 60 by 30mm bases (a battery by 1 No. smaller base) – normally you use 4 square bases for a unit – this is 2 bases – the only issue is that the column formation looks funny – I can live with that.

maurice-coverMaurice is an excellent game by Sam Mustafa and you can download some information on his webpage, including a lite version that you can play with (link here).  The rules works well for us and suits the way we play.

We have not done a what-if, instead it is a just a battalion level clash with familiar names of regiments for both sides, but with two totally fictitious Generals (quickly sketched up by yours truly).

I am using Maurice because I would like to do a little campaign, at some point, of the Swedish lacklustre efforts against the Prussians during the Seven Years War.  This is a chance to dust off these rules that I think gives a fun flair and works for the Period.  It is a card driven system, cards are used for activation and in additon can give bonus to firing (called Volley in the game), actions (charge, march, bombard, rally) or events can be played.  You can also buy national advantages that gives your army bonuses.  There is also a good campaign system, heroes (notables that work as supporting Commanders) and other stuff not covered here.

I made some notes on Maurice earlier with regards to the Great Northern War era (link to that blog post here).  In addition we are using the special rules for stationary artillery and pikes (for the Swedes).

This is not a review of the rules and I will just discuss the set-up and the result of the Battle briefly, there are a lot of reviews and playthroughs on the net, as the game has been around for some time, that you may want to check out. I really like the concept and the card system.  As you will see in the actual game we played it creates a narrative.

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Some of the optional national characteristics cards we will be using (more detail below).

The Danish Side

The Danish Major General Schmeicel is a tired and laconic individual, but can cause some occasional spark on the battlefield.  He is mainly an infantry specialist and have fought many campaigns in central Europe and his men are well drilled in firing – in accordance with the Dutch School.  This places less emphasis on the bayonet and is highly dependent on platoon firing with a rippling of fire down the whole length of the battalion. His strength lies in a prolonged firefight again the inferior firing Swedish units but will find it difficult once caught in the melee. The conscript horse units are represented by Dragoons.

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Major General Schmeicel

For the Danish side we went for the following:

  • National Advantage: Lethal Volleys – 12 AP (this to represent better fire drill than the charge oriented Swedes)
  • 8 No. Regular Infantry (Trained) Units – 48 AP
  • 2 No. Regular Cavalry  (Trained) – 12 AP
  • 3 No. Regular Cavalry (Conscript) – 12 AP
  • 4 No. Artillery units – 10 AP
  • Improve two units to Elite – 5 AP (1 No. Cavalry and 1 No. Infantry)
  • A total of 99 AP, 16 infantry bases, 10 cavalry bases and 4 Artillery bases.

We are also assuming Stationary batteries for the Artillery (See Chapter 10 – advanced rules).  In this era

Resulting in the following force:

  • Foot Guard/Queens Req, Regular Infantry, Elite
  • Grenadiers, Regular Infantry, Trained
  • Marine Regiment, Regular Infantry, Trained
  • Frijs Regiment, Regular Infantry, Trained
  • Arnoldts, Regular Infantry, Trained
  • Zepelin Regiment, Regular Infantry, Trained
  • Staffels/Kragh, Regular Infantry, Trained

  • Viborg/Aarhus National, Regular Infantry, Trained
  • Horse Guard, Regular Cavalry, Elite
  • 2nd Fynske, Regular Cavalry, Trained
  • Life Dragoon, Regular Cavalry, Conscript
  • Bulow Dragoon, Regular Cavalry, Conscript
  • Jyske Land Dragoon, Regular Cavalray, Conscript
  • 1 to 4 Artillery Units

The Swedish Side

The Swedish Major General Stryptagh has risen quickly through the ranks and is one of the Kings youngest Generals. Keen to impress, he is rash and a fully aligned with the Swedish offensive tactical doctrine (Gå-På).  He needs to get into contact as quickly as possible to win the day with superior shock cavalry as well as pike armed infantry units, hitting hard. The religious doctrine is represented in the use of clerics which is more to give an edge than clerics running around throwing incence.  The cleric will be marked using individually bases figures. There is no difference between Cavalry and Dragoons in the Swedish army in this game, or in reality, the are all count as galloping shock attacking cavalry.

As elegantly described in the book “Vägen till Poltava” (‘The Road to Poltava’, by Konovaltjuk and Lyth) the Swedish doctrine of marching slowly and steadily, towards the enemy in silence, then fire a Salvo at 70 steps and then at 30 steps from the enemy, with no reloading, before charging in, was based on simple mathematics.

Here is a rough translation of the relevant passage.

“The Swedish method of infantry attack was based on the limited accuracy (spread) of musket fire and the time to reload for a new salvo.  The spread meant that units preferred to shoot at the same time with many weapons – salvo fire – and hoped this would create gaps in the human wall in front of them, even though many shots failed to ignite or missed their targets.  A salvo had a limited impact on distances above 70 steps (50 meters) – except against cavalry that had a bigger target area and were the horses reaction was more important than the riders. In shooting repeated salvos, whether they were fired by rank, platoon or by all, you had to wait for all to reload.  The time for unified reloading has been discussed a lot and sometimes assessed to be at least one minute and up to two minutes.  In a minute the enemy had time to march one hundred steps (75-80 meters) and run 150 steps.  If the effective range for a salvo was 70 steps the unit that opened fire at a longer distance became a defenceless target for the opponent that calmly and steadily advanced and fired its salvo at a shorter distance and therefore with a bigger impact. The Gå-På method was based on this simple calculation.”

In reality it seems that the first and second salvos were fired even closer as the war progressed.  It was very effective and very often led to a routing enemy at or before contact with no protracted melee. The horse charged in with a wedge shaped formation as was equally offensive and did normally not fire any weapons at all.

For the Swedish side we went for the following:

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Major General Stryptagh
  • National Advantage: Cavaliers – 9 AP (Shock Cavalry), Clerics – 9 AP (to illustrate Swedish Determination) and A la Baïonnette! – 9 AP (shock infantry)
  • 5 No. Regular Cavalry  (Trained) – 30 AP
  • 5 No. Regular Infantry (Trained) Units – 30 AP
  • Improve four units to Elite – 14 AP (1 No. Cavalry and 3 No. Infantry)
  • Also Swedish infantry are armed with pike and we are using the advance rules for Pikes (See Chapter 10 – Advanced Rules). Typically a third of the Soldier had pikes in the early Stages of the War.
  • A total of 101 AP. 10 No. Cavalry Bases and 10 No. Infantry Bases.

Resulting in the following force:

  • Närke-Varmland, Regular Infantry, Elite
  • Västerbotten, Regular Infantry, Elite
  • Västermanland, Regular Infantry, Elite
  • Kronobergs, Regular Infantry, Trained
  • Södermanland, Regular Infantry, Trained
  • Queen Dowagers Horse, Regular Cavalry, Elite
  • Bremiska Dragoon, Regular Cavalry, Trained
  • Bassewitz Dragoon, Regular Cavalry, Trained
  • Norra Skanska Cavalry, Regular Cavalry, Trained
  • Nylands Cavalry, Regular Cavalry, Trained

We then made our selection from the Winter based stuff, we used about 25% of it.

The Battlefield

We fought the battle on the dining table, using a 3 by 4.5 feet snow mat I have had for some time. With the relative small forces at hand (and a base width at 30mm) this should work fine.

We drew the following battle field card.

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That is not my hairline but Maurice de Saxe.

Going through the motions of the card we find that we can place a maximum of 1 hill, 2 marshes, 1 rocky ground, 2 towns/village, and 6 wood terrain features (the red around marking around the forest number indicates that it is mandatory to choose some forest features (makes sense since the battles is in a woodland area).

Next was scouting and this is done by rolling a die each.  The Little One rolled 6 and I rolled, yes you got it, One!. There are modifiers based on the number of units you have of the type on the card (regular cavalry and irregular infantry in this case) but there was no point checking this, the Little One won. He wanted to be the attacker! – it was what the Swedes did in this era.

We ended up choosing two town/village and a few forest terrain areas. The table was set up as follows.

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Swedes on the Left hand side and the longer Danish line on the left. There is a village on the Left Danish flank as well as on the Right.

In addition being the attacker the Little One was allowed an additional ‘mercenary’ units – we just added another Swedish infantry unit.

We then recorded our Army Morale values which were 17 for the Danes and 11 for the Swedes, this is based on number regular of units!

A little bit of shuffling and card allocation later we could start the Battle.

The Battle

The Jingle Bells rang and we were ready to get going….

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“Straighten the Lines, the Swedes are coming” was heard over the snow cladded fields!.
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Village of Højreflanken in the background, with the Danish Dragoons and Cuirassiers getting ready for rumble
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The Danish Commander shouting his orders of the day, “Stand and deliver!”.
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The Venstreflanke Village on the left, with a tasty objective marker!
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The Swede breaking the line to get around the forest area! The Dinosaur was not part of the game.
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An excellent opportunity to cause some disruption from a distance, but sadly Ones are not very useful, not even with “Well Laid Guns!”
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Neither is Two
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…as I said above, 4 rolls an no effect at all… 
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Swedish left flank Cavalry ploughing forward. They then ended up more or less staying there to the end. Perhaps they got lost?
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Another Bombardment opportunity… the other rolls as bad, no yield at all.
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And the right cavalry is coming too!
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The Centre gets organised for the attack!
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I think I rolled more Ones than any other number on this day… but then what is the name of this blog? – it is not just a gimmick!
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That regiment is getting far too close….
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Nearly there, now our Lethal Volleys and Cannister fire will rip the Swedes into pieces!.  “GIVE FiRE!”
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But the order seems too late, as the Little One plays this interruption and get the first Volley in. Causing one level of disruption on the Grenadier Unit.
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I got 3 hits on my volley but failed to cause any damage from any of the hits (yes it is a roll to hit, then to damage depending on unit quality system)
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On his round he decided not to do any firing, which means I do not fire back either. However I had got lucky and I got this card. So I told him we would shoot.
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However I only managed two hits (cannister rolls two dice for hits) with minimal damage caused.
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He then went all in with this card and it felt like the beginning of the end…
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My Grenadier’s shat themselves. A white field coloured brown!
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My diversion on my left flank! Going on the attack, but he dealt with that swiftly later on.
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Raptured Danish line
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Rolling like a God that Little One!
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Another set of hits!
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Another one… 
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Diminishing Danes…
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The Little One managed to rally most of the Little Pathetic disruption/damage I had caused.
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…and even had time to use a round to play an event to cause me even more overall morale loss – the Death of a Hero on the Battlefield!
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Nearly there….
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And a round later! Not the happies nation in the World on this day.  Perhaps a Danish player would have done better, sorry (Jeg er ked af jeg rodet op!).

Assessment

The Game got a thumbs up from the Little One.  I have to agree, although the write-up perhaps gives the impression of Swedish onslaught it hang somewhat in the balance. The cards are interesting and the national characteristics gives the right Great Northern War feel we get from the traditional history books.

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We had blast, but then we always do. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a really good Christmas if that is your thing, if not have a blast anyway. I will be back with some reflective stuff before the end of the year.  That will be the normal review of the Year, from this/my blogs perspective (and there is a wide variety of stuff to cover), and some Crystal ball gazing for next year. Hope you will be back for that! The next big project is Poltava, with some 350 bases on the table (the battle we just presented above had 50 bases) at Joy of Six in July – it will be a spectacle.  Here is a “nice” video about the battle from YouTube.

A sad but also, I hope, inspiring end to this post…

Being somewhat detached from worldly events at times, I totally missed that  my favourite Danish Artist Kim Larsen died earlier this year, on the 30th September 2018. This was after a long battle with prostate cancer.

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I remember many drunken occasions in my youth listening to his band Gasolin and have been listening to him since. I have included my favourite song below – “Det bedste til mig og mine venner” (“The best to me and my friends”).

This year I have also sadly been reminded of the issues of mental health within my family, friends and in the work place. I am happy that the awareness and understanding is increasing in our society but I think there is a lot more to do.  In the wargaming community I especially applaud efforts from Katie Aidley, Henry Hyde and the Meeples and Miniatures crew (of course there are others too).  They have all in their own way inspired me to reflect, consider and learn new things about these issues.  This blog post is truly dedicated to them.

I let you explore the fantastic creative work of these fantastic people on your own, but here is a little bit of help for you to get started.

Katie Aidley – https://katiesgamecorner.com/

Henry Hyde – http://henrys-wargaming.co.uk/

Meeples and Miniatures – https://meeples.wordpress.com/2018/12/13/meeples-miniatures-episode-257-the-devil-in-your-head/

I had a Christmas Greeting from an ex-colleague who retired a few years ago, he said some nice things, and one part really made me happy “…working with you was a pleasure. And I noted you covered by back quite a lot”. He actually covered mine and many others backs all the time. It is what builds strong teams, friendships and people! Look out for each other!, … and yourself!.

Remember, “the best for me and my friends!”.

Rest in peace Kim.

 

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The What-if Battle Horka 1708 at Joy of Six 2018

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Yesterday, the Wyre Foresters and I had the pleasure of presenting Horka 1708 at the Joy of Six.  We have discussed the background to the battle before and I have attached a handout that contains some background on the idea of the battle, the rules we used (Twilight of the Sun King) as well as an list of the forces used on the day:

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Handout – word format – Handout – Horka 1708 v2

Handout – pdf format – Handout – Horka 1708 v2

It could be useful to read this one before pushing on.

Following a nice family Saturday in the Derbyshire Dales, visiting the impressive Crich Memorial for the Sherwood Foresters Regiment and the nearby Tramway village, we went to Sheffield and attended the famous BBKBCE – Baccus Balti King Beer and Curry Evening.  This is a chance to meet some old a new friends on the eve of the many battles being fought at the Joy of Six.

The Doors at the Joy of Six opened at 10am, but by this time I had been trying to set up the table since 8.30am.  It took me a few minutes more – I always mess up some of the regiments in terms of placement and being pedantic with regards to these things knock-on effects on the schedule are inevitable.  The mat worked reasonably well, but I had some issues with the sides and I may want to use some duct tape when I roll it out again.  I am still in two minds on how I will do the Poltava battlefield next year as it has some interesting elevation – perhaps reverting back to boards or a mix of elevation pieces and a mat – I have a few more months to worry about that.

Having put it all on and taking a step back I have to admit that I said a little “wow”, and reflected on the fact that this is why I do this.  Not to stare at an individual miniature being nicely painted (because that is not really my forte, but I do like nicely painted larger scale stuff), but to stare at something that resembles a battle when you take a step back – a battle from one of those many pictures the old man used to show me when I was a little boy and an aspiring General.

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The Battle of Poltava, 1726, by Denis Martens the Younger.  One of those paintings that really inspired me. It is the grandeur and the drama, Peter the Great in the middle front with his entourage fighting their way forward, the Russian camp on the left and the first Russian Line of infantry and battalion guns giving fire towards the oncoming Swedish force, the smoke, the intensity – just brilliant!

 

Admittedly not your average evening game weighing in at 12 by 5 feet, more than 3,700 miniatures on more than 270 bases – but at Joy of Six – why not! Here is Horka 1708.  I dedicate this game to my Dad, who I hope is feasting in Valhalla!

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The squares (65mm) are “Command Cards” – 5 for the Swedes and 10 for the Russians.  I printed these on sticky labels and put them on MDF bases. It adds a little bit of flair to the game – I think – and also indicates the rating of the Commander. From Poor (+0) to Exceptional (+3).

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Here is the file I used for these – Command Cards – Horka 1708  (and in Powerpoint – battle of Horka commanders ).

The actual battle worked out great for the Swedes.  The Russian left cavalry flank collapsed under the pressure of Major-General Creutz relentless cavalry attack on the other side of the river, combined with the strong push of the centre.  The Tsar himself died heroically in the Battle.  Surprising Field Marshall Rehnskiöld with the finest of the cavalry regiments was struggling on the Russian right.  It was a decisive Swedish victory.  In a re-fight setting we would probably consider making the Russian position stronger with defences and perhaps treat the waterway as more treacherous.  So the next refight may be more desperate for the Swedes than this first go indicated.

However, for now, the Swedes won at Horka in 1708.

I will do a general update about the show itself later this week – but I actually did not have time to do very much. It is how it works out when you have table to attend to.  There are however some things I need to mention, a few shout outs to people, the seminar I attended and a few of the tables that caught my eye (and I actually took some photos but only a few)  but that is for another time.

/ Hope that was of some interest, a few more pictures of the battle.

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Many thanks for passing-by, next year we are doing Poltava 1709.32

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Saga 2nd Edition in 6mm Age of Vikings – Twilight of the Thundergod

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I had a very  nice day at Salute yesterday, but have decided to reflect on that next week as I think his blog post is long enough – but in summary of Salute I can say “a lot of people, met some new and old friends, the games looked great, got some gifts(!), picked up some stuff and bought some more, What a Tanker from Too Fat Lardies looked fun, a fantastic GNW battle from Michael Leck – from my perspective the Show rolled a Six.”  More next week on this and some further on the progress on the Horka Project.

 

 

 

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Ok, one picture for now of what I think was the most stunning table on the day and it was simply based on the colour schemes used – it was very nice.  Yes other tables had more impressive buildings and clutter but in terms of overall visual appeal and artistry this was the one to beat on the day – I think colour and composition goes a long way and this one I think proved that point.   This was put on by “A Few Brits and the Hobby” and was depicting the Battle of Leros in 1943.  It was a demonstration game and was depicting the last successful German invasion of the war (WW2) when the island of Leros was taken in November 1943 as part of the Taifun operation (yes you are right another operation in 1941 was carried out with the same name).  From the guys own blur for the game “Despite being outnumbered by the defenders, the Germans managed to gain local numerical superiority in various small battles and used total air supremacy to defeat the enemy despite heavy losses.  Leros was another British disaster in the eastern Mediterranean and Germanys last major campaign victory in the region.”

 

 

 

 

back to the main theme….

I decided to start this blog on the back of doing a participation game of Saga in 6mm with the gentlemen from the eminent Meeples and Miniatures podcast (link here) for the Joy of Six in 2016.  The demo game was Saga in 6mm and I went all out and did starter armies (4pts) for the 12 factions from the three first books for the Age of Viking era (a total of 15 official Age of Vikings factions were produced for the first edition rules, if we exclude semi-official ones like the Skraelings, Revenant and Steppe Tribes).

This is the 100th blog update since the start and I felt it appropriate to do an update on Saga on the back of the Second edition being published earlier this year.  It is a long one but I do hope you will find it of some interest.

For this special occasion I asked Neil Shuck for a few words as a kind of preface (thank you Neil).

“When I had a conversation with Dave Luff on the podcast about the possibility of gaming Saga in 6mm, we had no idea of the forces we were about to unleash.
Dave was on one of his ‘it’s only a counter’ monologues, and with the fact that that very nice Mr Berry had just brought out some more of his Dark Age range, we were discussing the idea of being able to play Saga in a smaller scale, and what impact that might have on the game.  As with many of our ideas, it never got close to the painting table, so imagine our surprise when Per contacted us to say that he had taken our idea and moved it to the next level.

We may have planted the seed, but Per is a force of nature when an idea takes hold, and the rest is, as they say, history.  Per did a fantastic job creating all the forces, plus building the tables, and the games were very well received on the day.  More importantly, the game still works – if anything, the grander scale created by the smaller models gives it a more epic feel.  Congratulations Per, you have done a fantastic job with this.” 

– Neil Shuck, from the Meeples and Miniatures Podcast (link here).

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Here is a link to that very first blog post with a postscript that makes a few notes and links to the other relevant posts.  Note that the Factions are presented again in the text that follows, I will not repeat the information in the Part 6 to 8 sections about terrain, buildings and painting.

We had a blast on the day of the Joy of Six 2016 Show and Neil wrote about his experience on the Meeples and Miniatures webpage here and my report on the Roll a One blog is here.

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From the 2016 event – we ran two table – The Queens table and the Kings table (you can see the Lewis chess Queen overseeing the proceedings on this table and the king is blocked by the Sign overseeing the other).

It was a nice project to get done and all-in-all I did 2,474 miniatures in a total on 324 bases (25mm square).  Each base contained between 3 to 10 miniatures depending on type, but in general:

  • Mounted – Warlord 5, Hearthguard 4, Warrior 3
  • Foot – Warlord 10, Hearthguard 9, Warrior 8, Levy 4

After the show the Little One and I played a fair few games of Saga and we really enjoyed it.  We then drifted away to other things and the models have been left standing relatively still for a while (apart from a few sessions using the eminent Dux Brit rules from Too Fat Lardies, a test of the Sword and Spear Rules and a few games of Saga here and there).  In the beginning of the year (2018) Studio Tomahawk released the updated edition of Saga (I will call is Saga 2) – where there is a core set of rules and then a book for each era (e.g. Viking, Arthurian, Crusade, etc.).  I was debating on whether to get the new rules or not as we found the old ones more than satisfactory, but as I stated in an earlier blogpost.

I have all the old Saga books and I am aware this version will probably not blow me away in the same way as the first set, but it is on the basis of that very first set I bought the second edition. Saga is a fantastic game and I, and especially the Little One, want to be part of the ongoing process of making it even better.

I got the basic rule book for £8.50 (this contains the basic rules) and the Age of Vikings (this has the Viking factions and 12 battle boards) supplement for £25.50, which I believe is very competitive, from Dark Sphere (link here) with free postage (as at 14/03/18). That is a total of £34.

The original Saga Rules were typically sold for £25 and gave you 4 battle boards, three additional supplements (actually four if you count the campaign supplement) were produced cover the Viking Age at a typical total cost of say £42.  This gives a total comparative cost at £67 vs. £34.  So this new packaging is more cost effective, although the start-up cost is higher (£34 vs £25) as you need some battle boards to play the game.

The only thing that slightly irritated me is that there is only one base scenario in the basic rules – Clash of the Warlords, and that there are no specific scenarios in the source books  either – instead there will be a specific scenario book.  I really hope that this scenario book is something really special as I honestly think that some more scenarios could have been included in the basic rulebook or in the supplement(s) – so the comparison above is not fully a like for like.

On the back of having read the rulebook and the Age of Viking supplement and had a few games, I personally think it was worth the upgrade. I can use all of my existing models to play and the Saga Dice are the same (I have two sets of each type of dice as I used them for demo gaming and that allowed a higher number of combinations to be played over two tables at the same time) with one exception (the Last Romans, see below).

On the other if you have the old rules I am not sure I would be a position to strongly insist you should do or feel the same.  It is still Saga after all. However, I do hope that more supplements covering other Ages will be developed and made available on the back of this re-release.  The pictures of some Samurai warriors in the rulebook gives an interesting hint.

This blogpost will re-introduce the factions presented in those old blog posts, with what I hope are better pictures. In addition there are some changes to the composition and I have now enough figures to do starting warbands for the 10 of the 12 included in the Age of Vikings supplement.  I will further include some notes on changes to the rules (that only makes sense if you know the first edition) and finally show a few pictures of from some of the games we have played over the Easter Period with some friends and family.  I hope it is of some interest – it was nice to get them on the table again.

 Factions (4 pt Starter Armies)

 Anyway let us look at some of the miniatures (again!, note I do not have miniatures for two of the factions but are repeating the advice I gave in Saga in 6mm – Part 12).  All models, with the exception of the Irish Dogs, are from Baccus 6mm (link here) and the codes are from their catalogue to indicate what miniatures have been used.  The original picture showing the whole 4pt warband have been reused here, but I have also included close ups of each unit.  I am in two minds about this as I think 6mm is best shown in mass not as individual close ups (well I let you form your own opinion).  When you paint bulk and fast like I do for my projects it does not always look that great in a close up – but then why not.  All are on 25mm square bases, you may want to refer to that as an inch at your own peril of being 0.4mm out!

A few changes are noted in the text basically:

  • Reduction of a Battle Board (-3)
    • The Welsh and Stratchclyde Welsh now share a Battleboard 
    • The Normans and Bretons now share a Battleboard
    • Their is no longer a Pagan Prince board, but I assume this one is now assumed included in the Pagan Rus board (as one of their heroic options are a Pagan Prince)
  • Renaming of Battle Board (+/-0)
    • The Frankish board is now renamed the Carolignian board
    • The Byzantine battleboard is now renamed the Last Romans (and actually needs a set of dice I do not have (yet!) – the Roman/Briton dice that were introduced with the Saga Aetius and Arthur rules. 

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Anyway here are the Warbands:

Irish Starting Warband

The front figure are from the ALR04 Lanciarii (from the Late Roman Range) and a banner miniature I do not know from where. The two row of warriors are from EMV02 – Unarmoured Spearmen (vikings!).
These are actually two Hearthguard (Fianna) Units and I used the ALR04 Lanciarii (from the Late Roman Range) to represent these Javelin armed units.
These are my favourites they are the Warrior units and I used EMV02 – Unarmoured Spearmen (vikings!).
The Irish have the option to field a warrior unit of war dogs and who could honestly resist that? I needed to find some 6mm dogs. Baccus does not do any dogs but I did not need to get to any extreme measures as Perfect Six (link here) do some nice ones (and since I ordered my dogs they now also do wolves that could represent even more terrifying dogs – mine were border collies painted grey rather than the less intimidating Lassie look) so I ordered enough dogs to do 8 No. bases with 5 dogs and a dog handler on each. I used AMO01 Moorish infantry from the “Rome and Enemies range” for the dog handlers. These were leftovers from another project and I felt that the movement in these skirmish type figures were suitable to act as “leaders of the pack”. The war dogs may be more legend than reality but I think they add flair to the game.

Welsh Starting Warbands

I have two Welsh starting warbands as there were two separate boards in the first edition – one for Welsh and one for the Mounted Strathclyde Welsh.

Welsh

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For the Warlord I used the unarmoured spearmen (EMV02 – from the Viking code) fronted by 2 spearmen figures
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For the Hearthguards I used the unarmoured spearmen (EMV02 – from the Viking code) fronted by an individual model from the Late Roman lanciarii code (ALR04) to mark the units as being armed with Javelin .
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These warriors were made by using a front line of  models from the Late Roman lanciarii code (ALR04) to mark the units as being armed with Javelin, with a back line of the EMV02 Viking unarmoured Spearmen.
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A Javelin warrior unit bases on ALR04 – Lanciarii
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For the bonnedig (levy) I used Norman Archers (EMN05) – to get some balance versus all those Javelins.

Stratchclyde Welsh

Stratchclyde Welsh Warlord – Modelled with AG003 – Gothic Heavy Cavalry. For the miniature holding his hand up I have no clue.
Stratchclyde Welsh Hearthguard (Teulu) – AG003 Gothic Heavy Cavalry.
Stratchclyde Welsh Hearthguard (Teulu) – AG003 Gothic Heavy Cavalry.
Stratchclyde Welsh Warriors – AG004 Gothic Medium Cavalry.
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Stratchclyde Welsh Warriors – AG004 Gothic Medium Cavalry.

Scots Starting Warband

Scot Warlord – the mounted miniature a AG003 Gothic Heavy Cavalry, the man with the axe from the EMA05 – Saxon Leaders and command set, the first row of soldiers a mixture of figures from various sets, the backline from AG001-Gothic infantry
Scottish Hearthguard – AG001 – Gothic Infantry
Scottish Hearthguard – AG001 – Gothic Infantry
Scottish Warriors – AG001 – Gothic Infantry
Scottish Warriors – AG001 – Gothic Infantry

Viking Starting Warband

Viking Warlord – The mounted Vikings are from the EMV05 – Viking Luminaries and Loonies pack and the foot from the EMV01 – Armoured Spearmen pack.
Viking Hearthguard (Berserkers) – the hero models are from the EMV05 – Viking Luminaries and Loonies pack and the foot from the EMV01 – Armoured Spearmen pack.
Viking Hearthguard – the hero models are from the EMV05- Viking Luminaries and Loonies pack and the foot from the EMV01 – Armoured Spearmen Pack.
Viking Warriors – EMV01- Armoured Spearmen
Viking Warriors – EMV01- Armoured Spearmen

Norman / Breton Starting Warband

As for the Welsh this is now one Battleboards for what used to be two – the Normans and the Bretons.  The difference is that the mounted Hearthguards have Javelins.

Norman

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Charging cavalry (EMN01) was used for the Warlord (but with one of the fronting figures from the EMN06 – Norman Leaders pack).
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For the hearthguards (Knights) I used the Charging cavalry (EMN01)
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Another unit of Hearthguard (Knights) using the Charging cavalry (EMN01).
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The crossbow unit are Warriors so I decided to put 6 on each base (mainly as I only had one pack of 48 miniatures EMN07 – Norman Crossbowmen at the time and it divides nicely with 8, if you remember your times table).
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The archers are Levy and based on the EMN05 – Norman Archers

 

Breton

 

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For the Warlord I used EMN01 (Norman Armoured Cavalry) , however in doing it again I would have used the EMN03 (unarmoured cavalry) code for all mounted Breton units – to represent the more Javelin oriented Breton cavalry.
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For the Hearthguard unit I also used EMN01 (Norman Armoured Cavalry), with the same comment as for the Warlord above.
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Another Hearthguard Unit using EMN01.
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These are the Warriors using the EMN03 – Norman unarmoured cavalry code and represent the Javelin armed mounted Breton soldiers.
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These are the Warriors using the EMN03 – Norman unarmoured cavalry code and represent the Javelin armed mounted Breton soldiers.
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Javelin armed levy using ALR04 – Lanciarii.

Anglo-Danes Starting Warband

Anglo-Danish Warlord – Mixture of Leaders and personalities from the early medieval range as well as EMA01 – Huscarles with Spear.  Technically this should perhaps be a heavy weapon (e.g Dane Axe equipment and this is how we play and just remember it).
Anglo-Danish Hearthguard – EMA01 – Huscarles with Spear and leaders from
Anglo-Danish Hearthguard (Heavy Weapons) –  EMA02 – Huscarles with Axe
Anglo Danish Warriors – EMA01 – Huscarles with Spear (look at the unit in the front left, seems like someone did not listen to their orders)
Anglo Danish Warriors – EMA01 – Huscarles with Spear

Anglo-Saxon Starting Warband

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For the  warlord unit I used the Huscarls with Spear (EMA01) fronted by miniatures from the Saxon Leaders pack.
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For the hearthguard  I used the Huscarls with Spear (EMA01) again fronted by miniatures from the Saxon Leaders pack.
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For the warriors I used EMA03 – Fyrd Spearmen
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Another unit of warriors, again, using EMA03 – Fyrd Spearmen
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These are the Ango-Saxon shield and spear levy and I used a thin line of  Fyrd Spearmen (EMA03).

Carolignians / Franks Starting Warband

For the Warlord I used the Norman charging cavalry (EMN01).
For the hearthguards I used the Norman charging cavalry (EMN01).
Another hearthguard unit (EMN01).
A warrior unit using the Norman armoured infantry (EMN01).
As one warrior unit can be armed with Crossbow I did so with Norman Crossbowmen (EMN07).

Norse-Gael Starting Warband

 

 

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For these domesticated Vikings I used armoured Viking spearmen (EMV01) for the warlord unit (fronted with miniatures from the Viking and Norman leader packs – leftovers from EMV05 and EMN06).
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For this hearthguard unit (heavy weapons) I used the Viking axemen (EMV03)
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This Warrior unit is using the  armoured Viking spearmen (EMV01)
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This warrior (heavy weapons) unit is using Viking axemen (EMV03)
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The final warrior unit used the unarmoured Viking spearmen (EMV01) fronted by the good old Lanciarii (ALR04) as these are Javelin armoured warriors.

 

Jomsvikings Starting Warband

The warlord is using Armoured Spearmen (EMV01) fronted by mounted characters from (EMV05).  I used a uniform look for this legendary mercenary norse warrior warband which is probably not very likely – but I like the overall effect.
This is a Hearthguard, again using the Armoured Spearmen (EMV01) fronted by characters from (EMV05).
Another Hearthguard unit, same as above.
Warriors using the unarmoured spear (EMV02).
Again, Warriors using the unarmoured spear (EMV02).

The Last Romans (Byzantines)

Did not make this faction, but here are my ideas (I have the miniatures and just need to get them done).

Starting Army: Mounted Warlord (CIS01 – Seljuq Turk Heavy Cavalry), Mounted Hearthguard (CIS01 – Seljuq Turk Heavy Cavalry), Mounted Hearthguard with Bow (ASS02- Armoured Horse Archers), Warriors (EMV01 – Armoured Spearmen), Warriors with Bow (ALR05 – Archer).

Pagan Rus

Did not make this faction either, but here are my ideas (I have the miniatures and just need to get them done).

Starting army: Warlord (EMV01 -Armoured Spearmen), 2 No. Hearthguard (EMV01 -Armoured Spearmen), Warrior (EMV01 – Armoured Spearmen) and Levy with Javelins (ALR04 – Lanciarii)

Starting Army (Rus Princes based): Mounted Warlord (CFR04 – Turcopoles), 2 No. Mounted Hearthguard (CFR04 – Turcopoles), Warrior (EMV02 – Unarmoured Spearmen) and Warrior with Bow (ALR05 – Archer).

Playing the Game

Changes to the 2nd Edition Rules

You may want to skip this sections if you have no interest in what the changes are between the two versions, as this only makes some sense if you are familiar with the rules.

When reading the two rules again side by side (pun not intended) a few changes can be noted between the versions.  In addition to what I will cover here the battleboards have changed but I have not yet analysed them and probably will not.  I have played most of the old battle boards at least once but would felt it a step too far for the purpose of this. Doing this review/rough notes took me longer than I wanted it to take, I do not pretend I believe it is complete and may have missed or misunderstood something:

  1. The Warlord model (base in our case) can no longer use the side by side ability
  2. Resilience ability now allows 1 fatigue to be taken instead of 1 hit  up to its limit (see below – but to lower your suspense it is now 3 fatigue markers for all units).  
  3. Only a Hearthguard model/base (within (S)hort distance) can be used to sacrifice/taking damage on behalf of the Warlord. 
  4. We obey ability now allows free activation of any action – not just movement. 
  5. The Warlord now has 8 attack dice (previous he had 5) and only generate one Saga Dice (previously it generated 2 dice)
  6. Heroic units gets the warlord abilities as well.
  7. Levies now generate Saga Dice if the unit has 6 or more figures – previously they did not generate any at all.
  8. Warriors generate Saga Dice if the unit has 4 or more figures – this avoids the 1 man warrior unit being withdrawn to generate Saga dide.
  9. The Saga Dices left on the battleboard from a previous round does not affect how many you roll in your next turn (unless the total of dice on the board + allowed Saga dice from units is higher than 8. As 8 Saga Dice is still the maximum in play at any given time).
  10. In combat you can use 2 fatigue to cancel an enemy activation
  11. You can spend 1 fatigue to reduce the movement of an unit activating to S(hort)
  12. In shooting you can spend more than 1 fatigue to decrease the defending units armour, and in melee the same and also for increasing the attackers armour.
  13. All units are now exhausted when it has 3 fatigue markers allocated to it (3 is the maximum accumulation allowed), this gives -1 to all attack dice.
  14. All units in a group fight if they are engaged with another unit.
  15. Movement is done in straight line (including charges/attacks) 
  16. Models (bases in this case) in a unit to stay within S(hort) from the first unit being moved – this technically means that levies at 12 models cannot create a long line. For our purposes not a big problem, we tend to play the units as 2 deep by 6 frontage (levies), 2 by 4 warriors and 1 by 4 for hearthguards.  This to simulate some kind of depth in shield wall concept typical for the “Age”.
  17. Movement is free (cost no Saga dice) if you are at L(ong) range away from any enemy and movement ends up L(ong) range from any enemy.
  18. Shooting – combat pool maximum at Step 1 at 8 dice, final maximum at Step 3 16 dice.  There is no limit on the number of defence dice that can be applied (previously twice the number of hit was the maximum).
  19. Meele – a unit can only be engaged with one enemy units. There is no longer a step 0 (the reaction abilities are no longer being used). Maximum combat pool is now 16 at Stage 1 and double at Stage 3.  As for missile there is no limit for the number of defence die than can be applied.  Defending unit may choose to Close Ranks and gain the effect of solid cover but only gets half of its normal number of attack dice (The old rule of sacrificing attack dice to get defence dice is no longer used).  Note this rule is not available to mounted, bow/crossbow armed units and heavy weapons (e.g. dane axes).  So perhaps a better name for the ability would be to “Form Shieldwall!”.  Defenders in solid cover never withdraw if they outnumber the attacking unit, other units may end up less than VS if there are terrain restrictions.
  20. If all the figures are in cover, the cover counts – if not it does not count.
  21. Dangerous terrain introduced – works like uneven terrain but also causes 1 fatigue to the unit.
  22. Changes to the dimension of the sizes of terrain – I let you go a figure this one, I do not tend to care about these things – sorry!.  It is getting late.
  23. Equipment /Weapons – clarification of modifications and restriction, changes to rules for composite bows (free activation and no fatigue), crossbow (+1 to attack instead of -1 to Armour, and can only shot once per turn), javelin (+1 melee attack dice when charging, an example of this is the classic roman infantry attack I suppose), there is a new improvised weapon category.

Playing it over Easter

We decided to play a few games over the Easter Period and we only used starter warbands and I used my 2 by 2 terrain tile (famous from sessions of Pikemans Lament last year) as this one can easily be accommodated in a house full to the brim of family and friends. As we had mixed familiarity of the rules this was sufficient to get a few games played, starting within direct engagement distance.

We play the rules exactly as written, one a base is the same as a base in the 28mm version, no adjustments for ranges of missile weapons or movement.

Here are a few pictures from these games, the games flowed nicely and went really well.

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The Easter set-up – all games played with the same terrain constellation and with the same opponents – Vikings vs Normans.  For the normans we used 3 units of 4 Knights/Hearthguards and a unit of 8 Sergeant/Warriors and the Lord himself.  The Vikings had a unit of 4 No. Hearthguard Berserkers and a normal 4 base strong Hearthguard unit, supported by two units of 8 warriors (and the Warlord himself, mounted on a horse but moving like a foot unit).
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The new rulebooks and  battleboards – they have the same feel as the old Crusade boards (if you are familiar with these).
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Let us ride down those Norsemen!
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I like the effect of this picture!
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I know there is only 1 No. One rolled here but I needed to roll 5 or more to hit, with 8 base and 3 bonus dice for my warriors. I hit shit all with that roll!

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Very powerful if used at the right time.  I got my warlord sacked by this ability being used.
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The Norse Warlord fighting unit of 4 Sergeants (Warriors)
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A Viking attack on the Norman Warlord
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The Normans breaking through my shield wall
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The Guys on the bench. It must have been when I played the Normans! A row of Hearthguard taken out!

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Conclusion:  Saga is still fun and works really well in 6mm whether you have the old or the new set of rules.  In its base it is a simple I go you go – you roll to hit and then your opponent rolls to save kind of game.  But with the addition of being able to use your opponents fatigue to gain benefits and the battle boards it is a unique game and I, and the Little One, really like it.  

Note: I have played six games with the new version and lost five. 

/ I hope that was of some interest, below two bonus parts one about music and the other some old Saga battle shots!

Bonus 1: Old Battle Shots 6mm in Action

Bonus 2: Music for you musings

In the original postings we included some recommended music whilst painting your warbands – so here are a few oldies and a few new ones

Amon Amarth starting with their Twilight of the Thunder God (that incidentially would be a fantastic title for a set of wargame rules in the Age of Vikings) followed by At Dawn’s First Light and Pursuit of Vikings – it does not get much more Viking melodic death metal than this.  This is perhaps not everyone’s cup of, sorry I meant horn of mead!

If that was too heavy for you do not despair there are some equally good options (youtube is full of this kind of things – should get your warbands done in an afternoon or give you plenty of inspiration to crush your opponents on the wargames table).

 

 

Featured

Gaslands in 6MM – out of sight but not out of mind

GASLANDS IN 6MM

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Some time ago I was writing a few blog entries about doing Gaslands in 6mm and then it went quiet – we actually have played a fair few games and really enjoy it.

Anyway a little bit of summary of where we are at with this:

  1. Overview
  2. Games we have played on our Toxic Track
  3. Using Dropzone commander terrain
  4. Further ideas – Snowmobiles and Zombies

As I have said before I am not in a position to have a permanent set-up so prefer to do some of the games I play on smaller surfaces (say a maximum of 3 by 4 feet), so games like X-wing or Saga are great straight from the box.  Another way to achieve this is to convert a bigger scale game (e.g.28mm) from inches to centimeters (1″ becomes 1 cm) or by using half inches (1″ becomes 1/2″ or 1.27cm – not that difficult if you make special measuring sticks – a one time investment in time) – and using smaller scales for the miniatures. I did this for the Dan Mersey series of rules (e.g. here and here) and for Too Fat Lardies Sharp Practice (e.g. here) and it does work.  Yes it is a little bit more fiddly.

My original thoughts on doing Gaslands in 6mm – well actually more than thoughts – can be found summarised in a blog post I wrote earlier (Here).  After this I got myself some 50% movement templates that I bought from Bendyboards (link here, contact Lee and ask him for 50% if this is of interest) that produces the official Gaslands templates.  This in effect means that a 2 by 2 foot board equates to a 4 by 4 in full scale.

 If you want a good overview of the game, I think this review (link here) is a good summary and worth reading instead of me repeating something similar in content but less enjoyable and thorough.  I agree with the sentiment of this review.

TERRAIN FOR PLAYING THE GAME

Getting toxic

So far we have used the Toxic track I made some time ago to do our games, we played a fair few games just using a car each with front mounted machine gun, but we have now also done some games with 3 to 5 vehicles on each side.  I find that it produces different games – the single car race is about outmaneuvering and skill whilst the selection of vehicles tends to lead to a more skirmish fight situation – at least the way the Little One and I are playing.  Both version highly enjoyable.

Here is the terrain board again (2 by 2 feet) – we are ready to press the pedals very quickly with 2 minutes of so set-up time.

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It has some slimy pits that are best left alone.

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Here are a few shots from some of the games we have played.

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dropzone commander ruined city tiles

I actually came to the conclusion that the cars I ended up getting were probably closer to 10mm than 6mm scale – instead of 1/285 scale I found them being more like 1/200.  10mm normally is referred to as 1/160.   I then remembered the Dropzone commander rules and some cityscape terrain I had seen that looked decent – at least from what I was seeing.   I ordered a set of ruined city tiles and buildings for the Dropzone commander game.  It is a card board set in 10mm scale and I think this will work brilliantly as it may portray a section of a city where the level of radiation is too high for permanent inhabitation, or otherwise abandoned, and is now being used for Gaslands competitions.

You can find more information about it here.  It comes with 20 buildings and mats to cover 6 by 4 feet, so more than plenty for our needs. At £20 (reduced at the time I bought it 3rd April 2018, from £30) for the whole set (including delivery in the UK), hardly any significant outlay even if it is cardboard and we will probably end up knocking down the buildings whilst maneuvering our cars – but I will keep you posted on how this cardboard adventure will progress.

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Here is the full set as presented on the Webpage. Looks ok I would use some model trees for the park but otherwise good to go.  It is recommended that you mount the tiles on some sturdier board.

Here are some shots showing how the cars I am using compare in relation to the terrain.  I think it is a more than adequate fit and I think this terrain have some potential for a lot of different things.

 

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Really like this
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Spot on

 

In addition you can download more buildings for free on the webpage (here), but I think I will stick to these pre-printed ones as I am happy with the amount of terrain I already have in the basic set.  I suppose if you use these you could re-sixe them to fit to the scale you are using.

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Example of a printable free building for Dropzone Commander as the link above.

further gasland ideas

mutant 1984

I recently completed some Snowmobiles for my Mutant 1984 project, based on a matchbox model (“Snow Hopper”). I found these at a Poundshop for £1 each.

These are in “28mm” and I am planning on using Gaslands for a chase scene with some skiers, snowmobiles and some other snow vehicles, like the one in the picture below from Warlord Games – the Gaz 98 Aerosan (link here, picture from their webpage) and the skiers (link here, picture from their webpage). Still work in progress, so some time away from completion.  It is basically a “downhillish” race where a detachment of Pyri Commonwealth Scouts on skis are being spotted by some Borderguards of the Ulvriket Army on Patrol in the occupied Göinge during the cold Winter Year 109.

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6MM ZombieS

I also have some 6mm zombies that I need to paint to do the zombie scenario for my “6mm” cars, these are from Microworld Miniatures and I will be using Zombies and Ghouls (link to Microworlds Undead Range, here. Pictures from their Webpage).

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In summary we are having fun with these rules!, I hope you are too.

Next time is the 100th Roll a One blog entry.

/All the best, and by the way we had a guest font in this blog post it is called 28 days later and used in Gaslands – you can download it here.

 

 

Featured

Vulgar Display of Power – Just a little bit of progress on the Winter War Stuff

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Work is taking more than its fair share of my time at the moment, but it happens to most of us.  However, I have had some time to get some things done over the last week or so, this is just a summary of that.  As always, I do hope it is of some interest.

  • Chain of Command – dice, casualty markers and suppression markers
  • Gaslands – finally a game

Finnish and Sovietic dice

I am currently working on some terrain and markers for winter war Chain of Command.  I wanted to have some dedicated Finnish and Sovietic dice so looked around and found a fair few Sovietic options but only one Finnish (very nice ones, sold by Dice of War in Australia, see here). These are not specific ones needed for the game, just the type where the 6 is replaced by a unit or a country symbol and could therefore be used for any game that uses D6s. I wanted to have blue ones for the Finns and Red ones for the Soviets, and thought I could perhaps do some myself.  I found some 16mm blank dice on ebay and got myself a few different colours (these are from China so will take a week or two to arrive!, at least if you live in the UK).

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I then ordered some labels/stickers from Amazon (13mm).

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From Label Planets website (link here) you can get a word template for this label set and buy bigger quantities as well.  From this you can design your own labels.

I wanted to have 1 to 5 in the same font as used for the Chain of Command rules.  This font is called Vulgar Display of Power (download it here).  In addition I wanted the hammer and sickle for the Soviets and the hat emblem that the normal enlisted men had for the Finns, replacing number 6.

 

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Here is are the files with the sheet I made for the Soviets (Russian Dice) and sheet for the Finns (Finnish Dice), these are word files.  You can change these to add your own colours and symbols.

I have to admit that I had some problem with the laser printer I was using in aligning the sheet so that it printed out correctly (I wasted three sheets but luckily managed to get two done, which was all I needed)- the final result is not perfect and if you have trouble I can only say I am sorry.

This is how they turned out.

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I will make some yellow Sovietic ones and some white for Finns for Command Dice rolls.

Dead Soviets

One of the striking things with the Winter War are all the pictures of dead Sovietic soldiers especially in the fighting North of Lake Ladoga. Behind my romanticised view of the war and Finnish bias, I am not immune to the hell those Sovietic soldiers had to go through trapped on those wintery stretches of roads, with inadequate supplies of just about everything.  Go to the Wikipedia page and read about the Battle of Suomussalmi (link here) and check the losses on both sides – 50% losses for the Soviets and less than 10% for the Finns.

To create a reminder of this I did a few terrain features with dead Sovietic soldiers (I keep on using this term as the soldiers in the Red army were not only of Russian nationality).  They were based on Peter Pig casualty markers (based on anything with a great coat and headswaps to pointy Russian hats and early war helmets).

 

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Some Casualties, clay, stones and twigs from the garden

 

…and here with some painting, winterization and blood (sorry!).

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Suppression Markers

These are based on the concept of snow flying around as bullets hit the area.  I used something called Universal Cooker Hood Filter to do the effect. It is like cotton but much stronger, I attached a part of it with superglue and when dry I dragged it out and trimmed it. I also added a little bit of snow flock carefully on the cloud.  I think they do the job well enough.

 

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Ivan with his LMG is under fire and splinters are flying from the tree stump
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A simpler construction
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Snow splashing around a stone
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The full collection

Explosion Markers

I have seen explosions markers made out of clump foliage and wanted to make some for the winter war table as it will contrasts nicely with the snowy background, and also have some practical game purpose.  So I searched around the net for some ideas and found a few different options.

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Ivan successfully rolled 12 saving throws

I made my set of  explosion markers by following the recipe by the Terrain Tutor (link here).  Always excellent, this time he blew me away again!

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Terrain Tutor – check him out! Excellent.

 

I also had a game of Gaslands with my micro cars! (using 50% templates), and it was great, but more on that another time.

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/ All the best (yes I know I should be doing GNW!)

Featured

2017 ending 2018 coming!

 

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Swedish attack on Saxon defensive position (Baccus Miniatures) with seasonal flair. The Swedish tactics of just marching on with resolve and in silence and then throw their snowballs, or perhaps fire their muskets, at short distance followed by a full on charge is just about to be implemented.  The most important factor to the outcome is the morale and resolve of the Saxons who are desperately firing away at the Swedes – will they stand to the Swedish onslaught or shit themselves and run away?

A long one again, sorry…but a lot of pictures…

 I have been away on holiday in Sweden over Christmas with the family and the only miniatures related stuff I have been physically close to have been my copy of the Gaslands Rules. I have read them and they seem to be a lot of fun, but more about that later.

This is the second year end for the blog and I have yet again had a joyful hobby year.  My original idea was to do a blog about my preparations for my Saga Game(s) at Joy of Six in 2016, but then I never stopped.  I found that it gave me some kind of efficiency in a strange way and I seem to have been more productive and organised than I used to be as a direct consequence.  That original post on Saga in 6mm (link here) still gets some hits, but the most popular one from 2016 is the first blog on Sharp Practice in 6mm.

With the Saga game in 6mm I wanted to show that it is possible to take a “28mm game” and change the individual 28mm miniature on a 25mm circular base and replace this with a 25mm square base with 4 to 10 No. 6mm miniatures, keeping all measurement as they were and still have a good time.  The game was still played on a 3 by 4 table, just as recommended by the rules.

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Saga at Joy of Six 2016

Saga, as a game, worked anyway and playing it with 6mm miniatures gives a different feeling using individually based miniatures – I have tried both and I prefer the multiple based version.

The other approach I have taken with regards to 6mm is that you can take a game where 28mm miniatures (to take an example scale) are normally being used and half the measurement or use centimeters instead of inches.  In this case each 28mm miniature is replaced with an individually based 6mm miniature. I have done this and played Sharp Practice, Pikeman’s Lament, the Men Who Would be Kings and Dragons Rampant.  It works but it is more fiddly than 28mm, but this aspect can be mitigated somewhat if you use the (1-2-3) basing as suggested in the Pikeman’s Lament rules, if your game is about figure removal from units with non-individual figures – like the games mentioned above.  This method is best described by Michael Leck who came up with the idea on his blog page (see here).  A blog entry shows how I based my Colonial 6mm British (see here) using this approach (kind of!), pictures below.

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Each line a unit of 12 men. You loose one man you take away a single base, you loose one more (2 in total) you take away another single base, you loose another man (3 in total) you put the single base back and take away a base with two, and so on. Simple and I promise less fiddly and complicated than you are currently thinking.
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I only did 1 and 2 miniature bases for the Lancers (8 in each units) but it still works with the same principles as above.

Here is an example of a game we played this year on a 2 by 2 board (Pictures below, link to the write up and lots of pictures here) – you could carry the board under your arm and the terrain and the miniatures in a small little box. We had a jolly good time playing it.   Did I mention that it took me two short evenings to paint up each force used in the game!

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2 by 2 feet table
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Ottoman Cavalry charging the Russian Dragoons who were supposed to protect the wagons.  1-2-3 basing system in use (Baccus and Perfect Six)

Here is another one (with the write-up here), this time Ottomans vs Swedes.

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As for the most popular post in 2017 it is more difficult to say and perhaps unfair to compare as some of the posts, by the nature of weekly postings, have been on longer than others. However, the first blog on Colonial 6mm using The Men Who Would be Kings rules (link above) seem to have got some wider interest and so have the other postings covering Dan Mersey’s rules (Dragon’s Rampant and the Pikeman’s Lament rules he did with my friend Michael Leck) – they are all very similar with some notable variations in the Colonial set where there are commanders for each section as opposed to the overall force for the others and the damage is based on actual figure count – not a fixed full damage until half units are left going then down to half until wiped off the table, to mention a few of the more notable differences.  I refer to these as the “Mersey Skirmish Engine” (MSE).

On the whole we have really enjoyed these games and they fit us really well as the rules are simple but not simplistic – i.e. there is sufficient depth to make the decision making challenging and there is a high level of friction built-in the activation system.  I mainly game with the Little One who is celebrating his first double digit birthday next year so this simple but not simplistic factor is important to us.  The best children movies are the ones that contain some sneaky adult jokes – watch any Shreck movie and you get what I mean.  I find that the more complicated games looses the little ones interest quicker and in some cases never really captures him to start with.

The best games was when we were using my 6mm French Indian war models with the Pikeman’s Lament set, on that horrible “wargames mat” I bought in Rhodes on the family holiday. We played a fully functioning skirmish wargaming on what in fact was a doormat (some pictures here) and had some great fun in the sun.

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Gaming on the Doormat!

 

We also played some other games including the Terminator Game, Sharp Practice, Dreadball (a great late start!), X-wing, The Twilight of the Sun King, Road Wolf,  Maurice, to mention a few.  I also read and tested the new Basic Impetus rules and Sword and Spear and would like to try these a little bit more.  I also did two forces for 6mm sci-fi but I am yet to find a ruleset that inspires me.

 

I wanted to play Chain of Command with my Finns and Russian, but I failed miserably.

Anyway here are my key painting, modelling and gaming ambitions for this coming year.

Great Northern War – Twilight of the Sun King Rules (6mm)

Painting/Modelling 90%, Gaming 10%.

The 18th century in general and the Great Northern war in particular is one of my favourite historical settings and I am currently working on the Horka 1708 battle for Joy of Six in July 2018 (here is a link to some background to this).  This will be the biggest battle I have done to date and I am very excited about it and this is the kind of battle and set-up that really works with the 6mm scale and gives the look and the feeling of a real battle.

I would also like to do a smaller table to give the Düna crossing in 1701 a fair go with the Twilight of the Sun king Rules (see some discussion on the rules here).  I think the “did I hit?, did I damage?, did you have armour protection?, did you manage to save? – rolling sequence” is funny and engaging for a skirmish level rule-set but I am warming to the abstraction of the Twilight rules for BIG battles more and more for every time I play them (here is a note about the rules and where to find them). I have plenty of nice modelling and painting ahead of me for these projects.

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The field of Battle for Horka (link to it in the text above)
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Figuring out the battlefield for Horka

Winter War and Continuation War – Chain of Command Rules (15mm)

Painting/Modelling 50%, Gaming 50%.

I re-read Hjalmar Siilasvuo’s account of the battle of Soumussalmi  (Wikipedia link here) over the Christmas break.  It is an inspirational account of how, in essence, three Finnish regiments defeated two Russian divisions and one tank brigade. Siilasvuo was one of the most successful Finnish Commanders during the war years.

The Battle at Raate had ended with a total defeat of the enemies 44th Divison, The objective given to my soldiers were completed. My men had, with commendable resilience fought for over a month in the harsh winter conditions at Soumussalmi.  In defiance of death they had attacked the superior enemy.  Their only guiding star was the precious, common fatherland, that fought for its existence.  The cost of the great victories was paid with the heroic deaths of many brave  warriors.  With sincerity they had given their life for the fatherland, their homes and their faith.  The white crosses on the graveyards where the signs of their sacrifice.  They showed the people the path to honour, a hard path, but the only path. 

Translated, hastily, from H.J. Siilasvous book “Striderna I Suomussalmi”

I also went to the Cinema in my Hometown in Sweden and watched the new film based on Väinö Linna’s book the Unknown Soldier about a Machine Gun Company during the Continuation war from the mobilisation in 1941 and the early successes to withdrawal and retreat leading up to the armistice in 1944 , I have read the book and seen previous iterations of the movie and thoroughly enjoyed it.  The story is fictional but based on Linna’s experiences serving in the Infantry Regiment 8 during the war – it would make an interesting wargames campaign.

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Still from the Movie Tuntematon sotilas [Unknown Soldier] (2017). Vänrikki Kariluoto readying a grenade during some trench fighting and Corporal Rokka getting ready to charge in and clean the next stretch of trench with his Suomi KP/-31 Submachine Gun.  Corporal Rokka is a typical example of a Big Man and a Veteran of the Winter War.

 I have all I need for some Winter war action as I did a platoon of Finns and Russians last year.  Here are some links to those Platoons (see here and here) as well as some background you may find interesting.  I will not fail these platoons this year.  I hope the Little One is up for it too! Link to the eminent Chain of Command rules here.  I would also like to have a go at doing a winter wargames mat, as I have not yet found anything on offer that I especially like (I have an old mat but it could be better).  I also have some Russian Scouts and more than enough Finns in Summer Uniforms to do some continuation war stuff.

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Some of the Finns I prepared – an Engineering Section. The NCO is screaming – “Why the hell did you paint us and left us spend the whole year fully winter dressed in a box! Get your bloody act together!, or perhaps he is screaming Mitä helvettiä?, Levitä laardi! (What the hell?, spread the Lard!)

Punic Wars – Command and Colours Boardgame (6mm)

Painting/Modelling 70%, Gaming 30%.

I am going to do a modular board and the necessary miniatures using mdf hexagons and 6mm units based on 50 by 20mm bases.  I laid out the plans in a blog entry earlier in the year – here.  I am looking forward to doing this as I am a fan of the game and  I have wanted to do this since I read about Dan Becker’s project many years ago (see here) and got inspired from the game presented at Joy of Six this year.

Mutant 1984 – Mutants and Deathray Guns (28mm)

Painting/Modelling 50%, Gaming 50%.

I was going to do this project using (see more here) using the Scrappers rules but I have recently decided to try out the Ganesha games set called Mutants and Deathray Guns (link here).  I am keen that Rifleman Croc Lacoste gets some battle-hardening sooner rather than later, he has been waiting more than a while.

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Perry’s 95th Riflemen but not like you are used seeing them. Proud soldiers of the Pyri Commonwealth army, a mix of pure humans, mutants and mutated animals, on a rescue mission to a forbidden zone.  Crocodile head from the Crooked dice and high tech rifle from my old bit box (?).

 

I actually did some mean looking power armoured warriors (from Ion Age, IB52 Muster Female Squad, link here) when I got home yesterday evening as well as a gang of rats (conversions from the following miniatures – 3 of the bodies from Crooked dice here, 2 of the bodies from Moonraker miniatures – 0046 Scavenger. Handgun. Shotgun here, and 0074 SMG. Rasta here, the last body on the far left I do not remember, the heads and tails are from Giants rats, also from Moonraker, here).

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These Ladies would be part of a small security unit frozen in Cryonics freezers and woken up when the level of radiation had reached a survivable level. Now they have found a harsh and wild world, but they still have some powerful weapons, plenty of ammunition and their power packs are fully charged.
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In one of the classical adventures for the Swedish Roleplaying game Mutant that is the inspiration to this project, called Nekropolis, the PCs have an encounter with a group of rats.  This gang is my homage to those guys.

 

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The Original Picture from the scenario – Nekropolis, den Grå Döden Del 1, 1985, TAMB Äventyrspel AB

Gaslands (6mm) 

Painting/Modelling 30%, Gaming 70%.

This is the best thing that I have come across in 2017 and I read the rules over Christmas (link to the Gaslands page, here. Where you can get the rules and accessories).  This will be fun and I have more or less everything I need to get on with it (some notes here, here and here).  Being true to form I decided to do this in 6mm as I was aware of some nice looking models out there. However there are some considerations to make and I advice that you read my blog entries above, if you are considering doing this.

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50% movement templates with the 6mm cars.

In addition I may do the occasional game of Colonial skirmish, Dreadball, some Saga battles with the dark age stuff, French Indian war with SP2 or T&M, Maurice or Pikeman’s Lament with Swedes and Saxons, and I may even progress the Rommel stuff I started, but we will see. I am pretty sure it will be totally different at the end of the day/year but as long as I have fun it does not really matter.

I would also like to do some WW2 units to use for a Norwegian Campaign. I did a fair few a few years back but in a moment of stupidity let them go.

Some thanks and then I will let you go

I have done a fair number of hours at my painting and modelling desk this year, when I do this I tend to listen to podcasts and audiobooks – the following are the hobby related ones I have found especially inspirational this year and I am grateful they are doing what they do. Get some paint and click on the titles and go and listen, you may have a painted army standing before you after you finish! Thank you to all involved in the production of these.

Meeples and Miniatures – solid show, like a Volvo of the 240 series. Solid running top notch quality!

The Too Fat Lardies Oddcasts – effortless delivery of wargaming wisdom! Only 4 episodes so far but it feels like it has been around for ages.

Veteran Wargamer – excellent! Jay has definitely helped me make my gaming more fun!

WSS Podcast – at times feels like listening to one of those annuals I got as a kid, great stuff!

Wargames Recon – enthusiasm can go a long way, this one goes miles!

If I had one wish it would be that the Historical Wargames Podcast got on air again – I really enjoyed that show.  If I had another wish it would be great if there was a wargames podcast similar to the Grognard Files (a nostalgic throwback show to the RPGs of yesterdays) that reflected on some of the “dead” games out there.  The Veteran Wargamer, for example, had a show about games from beyond the grave (link here) and I think that one was a good start – look out for Jay’s comment on the game Chess.

Special thanks this year to the Little One who possibly prefers solo computerised quests as opposed to games with Dad using painted miniatures, but never fails to get stuck in and getting on with it.  At Joy of Six he ably, more or less on his own, ran the Dragon Rampant table we put up.  Also a big thank you to the Other Ones who may not be interested at all in this hobby of mine but who lets me get away with spending far too much time on it.

I would also say thank you to Chris of Marching in Colour (here is a link to his excellent painting service) who has been painting a fair few of my GNW units for this and next year’s TMT project – giving me more time to do some fantastic diversions and maximising the fun in the limited hobby time I have available.

Nick Dorrell, and his chums from the Wyre Forester Wargames club (link here), we ran Kalisz 1706 at Salute this year (see here) and Lesnaya 1708 at Joy of Six (see here). Nick and I have been doing 6mm Great Northern War Battles for the last six years as mentioned above we are doing Horka 1708 this year – if I get all of it done!   Also to Rob and Laurent that helped us at Salute and Peter and Igor of Baccus who always makes Joy of Six an easy gig!

Finally (almost), a big thank you for all you people out there who likes the blog on Facebook, follows it on Twitter (yes I have recently got myself wired up on this too), directly here on WordPress, or just comes by occasionally or even incidentally.  I really like the messages that comes through the blog and discussions I have had face-to-face with readers of the blog at the Joy of Six and Salute this year.

Now go and enjoy the end of this year. Hope you have a great 2108 and hey! – why not give something back to the hobby!  Having just eaten half of the world and drunk the other part over Christmas it tends to be at these times when we reflect on our health and promise to deal with it next year.  Henry Hyde, of Wargames compendium and Battlegames fame, just released a video that may not result in your lead mountain being painted any quicker but may help you being around long enough to have time to deal with it.  The video is called “Exercise Ideas For Writers and Gamers” – that is giving back big time so a my final thanks goes to you Henry!  Here is a link to the video on YouTube.

/ All the best and see you in 2018